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 A campaign for the United States Marine Corps by Cory Robert Christensen­­­ 

Strategic Communications Plan 2013

Cory.christensen@okstate.edu

 (918) 706-0444

 

  1. Overview

The United States Marine Corps was founded in 1775 to provide an amphibious attack force for ship combat as well as assisting in landing forces.  The Marines have been a very important factor in preserving the American way of life.  “By the early 20th century, the Marine Corps had become one of the [most] dominant theorist and practitioners of amphibious warfare.” (History of the,”)

Throughout the last century, their numbers went from 3,142 soldiers in the 1900’s to 182,100 by 2012. During these years, the Marines have transformed themselves into the mighty force they are today.

The slogan “Semper Fidelis”, or Semper Fi, was adapted into the Marine Corps in 1883, meaning “always faithful” in Latin.  This phrase was adopted to show the significance of each Marine’s dedication to the Corps and to their country. Another popular slogan that has proven effective in their advertisements is the saying “The Few.  The Proud.  The Marines.”   This slogan signifies the high caliber quality and dedication of those individuals who have become Marines in order to serve their country.

The Marines are a select group of tough, hardworking individuals who will stop at nothing to serve their country proudly and honorably.  These individuals who join and have what it takes to be a Marine are granted great appreciation and honor.

Demographics – As of 2011, there were 200,225 active members in the Marines.  They have the youngest and least amount of married individuals out of all four branches of military. A majority of the recruits (62%) are younger than 25 years old. 21% are under 21, 39% are L.Cpl. or below, the other branches are between 19%- 24%.  The Marines have the lowest percentage rate of female members than any other branch.  As far as ethnicity goes, 70% are white, 13% are Hispanic, 10% are African American, 3% are Asian, 1% is American Indian/ Alaskan Native, and 1% is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.

C.  SWOT Analysis

Strengths

The Marine Corps has a rich history of serving and protecting our country since it was established in 1775. Their most saleable attributes are agility and adaptation. The Corps’ can organize all of 182,100 members and “deliver a variety of military capabilities anywhere in the world within 96 hours.”(U.S. Marine Corps Organization and Missions)  They glorify themselves as being the toughest and most elite branch of warriors out of all the branches of military, hence the phrase “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.”

Weaknesses

Due to the economic woes, and the winding down of an 11 year war, military budgets have been pinched drastically.  “The Corps is shrinking by 20,000 Marines, to 182,000, and scraping to repair or replace battle-worn equipment.”(Kovach). Budget cuts around $500 billion already in store under the Budget Control Law could lead to “sequestration” according to General James Amos.  Amos also stated, “If Congress can’t find a solution, virtually no Marine program will be untouchable. The gross aggregate percentage is possibly a 9 to 11 percent reduction in the Marine Corps budget, minus personnel.”  These numbers have depleted by 20,000 this year alone and the Marines are struggling to obtain recruits from areas in the northeast, west and Midwest.  In addition, the general public does not seem to be fully aware of the activities the Marines are involved, as well as all the benefits and opportunities that they can provide.  The public tends to view them as egotistical and often do not agree with the politics behind their actions.

Opportunities

For those who become a Marine, the perks include an opportunity to obtain a career, travel the world, and a sense of being part of something great.  Marines receive full health coverage, free on-base housing, and monthly allowances.  Plus, low cost mortgage and education funding whether you serve for one term or make it your career.  They also will receive full college payment for two or four year degrees, depending on how long you serve.  For those who serve for 20 years or more, retirement benefits, pension, and an early retirement are definitely perks for serving our great country.  Those that become officers have the privilege of full paid scholarships in advanced degree programs such as doctorates and master degrees.

Threats

The main problems include, not enough people joining and our poor economic state.    However, if you consider other branches of military as competitors, the Army is the main threat just because of its size.  In reality though, it just depends on which branch of military the individual wants to join.

Research

  1. I.                   Focus Group

Based on our course research from a focus group of people in the target demographic, the following observations were made:

Demographic Perception

The Marines are viewed as a distinguished and honorable group of people who are brave enough to do things that most would not.  They expect mostly males’ right out of high school, with no other options, to join.  Although some view Marines as egotistical, they still have respect for them.

Factors prohibiting potential recruits from joining 

The Marines are the first ones to battle and possibly the first ones to die; hence training is more difficult than any other branch of the military. They have the highest dropout rate and the least amount of women compared to the other branches of armed forces.

Towards the Sounds of Chaos- a review of the Marines current campaign

The Towards the Sounds of Chaos campaign comes off as a challenge to the American public. It seems as though it is asking “Are you brave enough or tough enough to join the Marines?” Based on the reaction from our focus group this campaign turned most away.  The ad reinforced the overall opinion our focus group had when we started. However, most of our focus group was not interested in joining the armed forces even before watching the ad.

Perception of Marines compared to other branches of the military

Marines are typically expected to be the best and the bravest. Many think of themselves as an elite group of warriors. They go through the toughest training, so more is expected of them, hence the larger dropout rate from their training program. This branch of armed forces does not appeal to the women in our focus group. These factors contribute to the Marines being seen as a more elite group then other branches of the armed forces. Traditions, honor and history are values that are held dear to the hearts of Marines, according to our group.

Seeking more information about the Marines

Most of the focus group would turn to family and friends, especially those who have served our country.  Some would turn to recruitment officers, but were concerned about being able to trust them. According to Drew, who was in the Air Force, recruiters are “not to be trusted”. Personal research seems to be the best way to find information, but how accurate is the information that is given to the public? The best way to determine what is true is to ask past and present Marines and other branches of the military. Every answer could vary depending on personal attitude, goals and position in life.

  1. II.                Online Survey

Additionally, an online survey was conducted to determine media usage, knowledge of the Marines, and opinions regarding the Towards the Sounds of Chaos campaign. The following data was concluded from 110 participants.

Media Analysis

Out of all the variations of media, it seems as if our participants spend most of their time on the internet and social media outlets.  Facebook, of course, being the most popular social media site and the most popular place for people to check news was from news based websites.  On average, 47.6% of individuals spend at least 3-8 hours a week on social media sites. Therefore, it’s safe to say that the Marines need to invest more in online ads and social media aspects.

News websites make sense because these days people go to websites instead of watching potentially biased news programs on TV.  Not to say that the websites are not biased as well, it’s just that there are not as many restrictions on the internet as there is on TV, radio, or print. It would make more sense for the Marines to focus on more online advertising and get more involved with social media.    In addition, we asked participants where they go first to get their news and information, and 65.3% of them agreed that they check news sites on the internet first.

Towards the Sounds of Chaos Review

The majority of the participants found the ad to be helpful with a response of 77-33.  They also found the ad to be effective from an excellent to moderate level, as well as finding it ethically sound from the same perspectives.  The verbal content and visual seemed to be accepted from an excellent to moderate stand point as well.  The aspects of the ad made the participants feel respect,  pride, honor, and encouragement.  All of these aspects help reinforce the effectiveness of the ad, although, some of the participants felt that the ad was somewhat cheesy and over the top on certain aspects, especially when showing the boxes of AID being carried on the trucks.  For the most part the ad seems very effective.

Limitation and Recommendations

For the future, several key aspects need more focus.  First, there needs to be more online ads and social media aspects.  Participants want to see more ads with TV/movie personalities so, if possible, the Marines should use TV/movie personalities who were once fellow Marines to participate in an ad campaign.  These aspects should help get the viewer’s attention as well as reassure the viewers of the success the Marines could possibly provide.

The only limitation that needs work would be reaching out to people in more areas of the northeast, west coast, and major urban areas. Most likely, social media and the internet can help solve this problem.

As far as the TV ads, most (64.2%) participants agreed that they would like to see more adventurous aspects of becoming a Marine.  2nd to the adventure, at 53.2%, viewers would like to be shown the benefits of joining.  Following those appeals was the inclusion aspect, to help the viewer feel a sense of belonging, to be a part of something and make a difference, 45.9%.  Including some of these aspects in commercials and ads would help the Marines benefit in the long run.  After all, this is what our participants said they would like to see in the ads.  All of these aspects should be incorporated in all the different media outlets, such as, Internet, TV, radio, print and outdoor advertising.  Following these aspects and recommendations will greatly broaden the reach and exposure that the Marine Corps desires in a communications campaign.

Goals and Objectives

Goal – Use various aspects of media to increase the amount of enlistees by 10%

Use traditional style media as well as non-traditional to increase awareness in major cities of the northeast, west and Midwest.

Awareness – By using these methods, we plan to entice individuals between the ages of 18-25 years to join the Marines by making them more aware of the benefits they offer.  As well as informing them of the importance the Corps’ has had in supporting our great nation and will continue to do for the future to come.

Attitude-Create a more positive outlook for the Marines since the public tends to view them as being very self-centered and egotistical.

Behaviors – To encourage more individuals between the ages of 18-25 that joining the Marines is a smart career choice.

  • The campaign will run from January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2013

 

  • The effectiveness of the campaign can be measured by the number of enlistees the Marines have by the end of 2013. 

 


Strategies and Tactics

Campaign Slogan – Do you want to be a Marine?

For my campaign spokesperson I would like to nominate R. Lee Ermey because he is a well-known actor as well as a highly decorated Marine.  He is most well-known for his role as Marine drill sergeant in the film Full Metal Jacket.  Ermey is also a spokesperson for a youth program called Young Marines.

He would be a good role model for the campaign because he is very outspoken and well respected as an actor and as a Marine. Another major aspect that would prove very effective is showing the importance women have in the Corps.

Budget $100 Million

TV 20%, Outdoor 10%, Online Gaming 25%, Social Media 25%, Events 20%

 

 

 

Media Tactics

 

1. Traditional Media

 

Television – On ABC, CBS, NBC, ESPN and Fox; 30 second commercials will run during prime time television programs.  Target cities include Chicago, Cleveland, Minneapolis and St. Louis for the Midwest.  In the northeast, they will run in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia and Pittsburg.  For the west, they will run in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Seattle.  These commercials will have great emphasis on urging viewers to proceed to the Marines website and Facebook page to find more detailed information.

Outdoor – Rotary bulletins will fluctuate monthly along major roads in the cities that I have mentioned above.

Events – In all the select cities that I have mentioned above R Lee Ermey will be asked to speak at major high schools to inform students about Marine importance, history and benefits.  In addition he will also speak at recruitment offices, malls, anything that the Marines are affiliated with.

 

2. New Media

 

Online Gaming – Video games will be utilized to advertise 30 second commercials between rounds of online play, specifically during popular games like Call of Duty: Black Ops II, Halo 4, and Battlefield 3.  The advertisements will be projected on all platforms including major consoles, computers and mobile gaming devices.

3. Social Media

Facebook – Can be utilized to inform the people of what is currently going on with the active members of the Corps. Facebook helps viewers to connect with the Marines by utilizing sympathetic characters.  A good example would be when individuals “like” the Marines Facebook page, they will receive Marine information in their News Feed when they update their page.  If R. Lee Ermey participates in the campaign you could follow his Facebook page and receive updates from him as well.

Twitter – Can be utilized to help individuals get more involved with the Marines by following certain individuals to relate to their sympathetic characters.  This should make more people realize what is really going on with the Military and help influence them to join.

 

In the process of making this campaign, it inspired me to write a jingle for it.  Please click on the following link to hear it.  Keep in mind that I have several different versions.

 

http://soundcloud.com/cory-christensen/do-you-want-to-be-a-marine-2

 

 

Work Cited

 History of the united states marine corps (n.d) Retrieved from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/history_of _the_United_states_Marine_Corp

Kovach, G. C. (2012, November 22). Commadants sets Marines on new course.

North County Times. Retrieved from http://www.nctimes.com

Image

Fair Meadows is an excellent place to go that most people do not know about. It is a great place to grab a bite to eat and a cold beer, while catching up on the world’s most exciting horse races. Most important thing to remember is you do not have to have a lot of money to come here. Drinks are cheap, the food is great and you can place bets as low as ten cents a piece.

Fair Meadows features

  • Simulcast horse racing
  • Multiple large HD projection screens
  • Race wagering with programs and tip sheets available
  • Sports bar and grill
  • Accommodates over 120 people

For more info about Fair Meadows click here

Follow Fair Meadows on Facebook

This does not surprise me at all, because people actually will take interest in a celebrity on a social media level.  Following a brand such as Nike on these terms just seems ridiculous because all they are going to try to do is analyze your profile and sell you more stuff.  However, not that this isn’t the ploy for Chris Brown and his so-called “Team Breezy” ha, I couldn’t help but laugh at that one.

In a way his team is doing the exact same thing, but their end of the deal is way more enticing because he is allowing his subscribers new music content that they are not going to be able to get anywhere else.  In my opinion sure this will work for all of those naive people out there that don’t know where to look in the right places to find stuff like that.  However, all it takes is for one follower to gain access of the “exclusive content” and then make it free for everyone.

Getting back to the bigger picture here, what does this say about society who follow this abuser so faithfully? He pled guilty to felony assault charges and it made him more famous, and now he has 8.2 million twitter followers.  Probably more than that, but just to show the brand domination factor, he has more followers Nike, Starbucks, Disney and Whole Foods combined.

One more interesting point, what does this Say about Rihanna for continuing to do songs with this guy.  Have some self-respect girl!!!!!

Its amazing the power ones image can have.

So if I am working for one of these companies that worries about their brand, then I would be striving to get a celebrity to help represent.  Although Nike still has Tiger Woods, but his latest actions were not the best.  The bottom line is if you have a good product it will sell itself and these branding companies are fretting over nothing.

Check this link to find out more

What Does It Say About Brands When @Chrisbrown Is Bigger On Twitter Than Nike?

I hope this recording thing goes well today. FDH is about to have some vocals, and I can’t even go to sleep.
Is this a sign or what?

Stay tuned for more details.

CoryC out!!!!

It seems to me that Blockbuster’s problems could come from the fact that the people who should be running the company by looking ahead to the future seem totally out of touch with reality.  While Netflix and Redbox were moving ahead in the home movie business Blockbuster just stood around with a stupid look on its face.  Even the heads of the company seem not to realize that they are broke.  In our “I want it now” society people want convenience. Simply going to the store for a movie these days just seems like too much work when you can get it on your computer, IPhone, Ipad, or the numerous other devices which stream these movies to you at your convenience.  Being in denial and comparing their company to apple is simply crazy. If Blockbuster is going to survive, they are going to need to come up with a super fabulous business plan, fast!  You have to strive to survive in the digital age.

Now onto the problem with Netflix yes its convenient and you can stream it on many various screens, I believe that they are lacking security. Because somebody can purchase it and then give their friend the code and then they can watch it.  Losing another potential client.  Think about it, and also who really needs Netflix when you can stream just about anything for free so Netflix might be done as well.

Check out the article to find out more.

According to Steve jobs you need to “start with the customer experience and work your way back to the technology.”  He makes some good points in the speech he gave 15 years ago, I believe he has been true to his philosophy because I’ve seen these types of situations happen to apple and their products.  The achievements of apple are amazing, our lives have been forever changed by technology.  Although Jobs is dead, I believe he still has a few more surprises left for us with apple and we shall see technology grow from beyond the grave!!!!  Check out this video though so you can get some Apple philosophy.

Wieden and Kennedy

Posted: February 5, 2012 in advertising, Entertainment
Tags:

Once agian this is just another ariticle for the Wieden and Kennedy agency to gloat about their achievements.  However, I was not aware of their invovlment with the livestrong campaign, and their social media powered mobile contraption that translated the tweeted messages on the along the tour to france was a genious idea.  Also this article states that client relationship is very important and social media is a very affective tool for client communication aswell as advertising itself.  A nice way to look at advertising that they talk about is looking at your ad message as a conversation instead of a one way broadcast.  A lot more focus is being made upon the digital aspect and the integration of that into the more traditionla side that is cleary being moved away from.

Top Agency

Posted: February 4, 2012 in advertising, Entertainment

Wieden & Kennedy

Honestly this article does not really tell us much about how this agency accomplished things as much as what did they accomplish.  However the good point that comes out is that teamwork is key to a succesfull agency and that your work can be fun with new refreshing ideas like they did with Old Spice For example.  Also stating that when you get a good concepts going such as Old Spice you can do several varations of to continue its succes.